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Get an appetite for love at romantic picnic spots in Scotland

A picnic for two is one of the most romantic activities a couple can do. It’s the perfect way to mark a special anniversary, or just simply to spend quality time together and make some memories. Perhaps a certain very important question might be asked before popping open a chilled celebratory bottle of fizz!

When it comes to planning a picnic for a loved one, the more attention to detail, the more memorable an occasion it will be. Picking a wonderful location is essential and luckily you are spoilt for choice in Scotland.

Check out our suggestions for some wonderful places where you can lay down your blanket, tuck into a delicious picnic spread and soak up breathtaking views for free.

Sweetheart Abbey, New Abbey Dumfries & Galloway
Sweetheart Abbey, New Abbey, Dumfries & Galloway

In a place built to mark everlasting love

Like a love story? Lying in New Abbey in Dumfries & Galloway, Sweetheart Abbey is more than just a pretty ruin with a charming name – the inception of this beautiful red sandstone abbey has an incredibly romantic background. It was founded in 1273 by a heartbroken Lady Dervorgilla of Galloway in memory of her late husband.Lady Dervorgilla even went as far as to carry his embalmed heart in casket with her everywhere she went, and when she died in 1289, his heart was buried with her in the abbey church. If this story has captivated your imagination, then why not discover more about Scotland’s abbeys?


Forth Rail Bridge, South Queensferry, Edinburgh
Forth Rail Bridge at South Queensferry, Edinburgh

Under a bridge

Picnicking near a railway bridge not might sound like a romantic spot for some al fresco dining, but in Scotland, you’ll be surprised at just how enchanting it can be. On the shoreline at South Queensferry, the Forth Railway makes a striking backdrop and on a still day there are some mesmerising reflections in the sparkling waters of the Firth of Forth. In the West Highlands, a picnic near the Glenfinnan Monument can be really special, particularly if you time it to see the historic Jacobite Steam Train power across the Glenfinnan Viaduct.


The summit of Ben Nevis, West Highlands
The summit of Ben Nevis, Highlands. Photo by Local surfer via Flickr | Creative Commons

Up a mountain

It’s a very romantic thing to say you’d climb a mountain for someone, but there’s nothing quite like actually doing it! Scotland has 282 Munros which are mountains standing at 3,000 ft or higher. Work up an appetite as you climb the highest, Ben Nevis, which lies near Fort William in the Highlands, and you’ll be rewarded by stunning panoramic mountain vistas. Alternatively, why not roam Scotland’s hills and glens to find your perfect spot?


Scottish Dark Sky Observatory, Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park, East Ayrshire
Scottish Dark Sky Observatory, Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park © SDSO

Under the stars

Wait until the sun sets, and bring extra blankets and cushions for a picnic below inky black skies. Scotland has a number of Dark Sky locations, including the UK’s first Dark Sky Park in Galloway Forest Park in southwest Scotland. Spend time counting some of the 7,000 stars and planets above your head, or learn about the constellations at the Scottish Dark Sky Observatory. You can also visit the country’s only Dark Sky island, the idyllic Isle of Coll in the Inner Hebrides, where the nearest lamppost is around 20 miles away on the Isle of Mull.


Glengoyne Distillery, near Glasgow
Glengoyne Distillery, near Glasgow

By a distillery

The taste of Scotch single malt whiskies are often affected by their surrounding environment in which they are matured, and many of these happen to be in some beautiful natural settings. Nestled at the bottom of Dumgoyne Hill to the north west of Glasgow is Glengoyne Distillery which is surrounded by lush countryside. You could finish your picnic with a tour and enjoy a dram – there’s even a Whisky and Chocolate Matching Tour which makes a great alternative to a dessert! In Speyside, you’ll find many delightful places to picnic along the Malt Whisky Trail.


Kibble Palace, Glasgow Botanic Gardens
Kibble Palace, Glasgow Botanic Gardens

In a botanic garden

Scotland’s botanic gardens are very special and serene green spaces, housing some fascinating and colourful collections of native and exotic species of flora. Both Glasgow and Edinburgh’s botanic gardens are home to some stunning Victorian glasshouses, perfect to explore après picnic, and there are miles of pathways for a strolling hand-in-hand at a gentle pace. In addition to the botanic gardens of the cities, there are acres of beautiful parks and gardens to discover across Scotland.


Loch Ness, Highlands © cieniu1 | Fotolia
Loch Ness © cieniu1 | Fotolia

On the banks of a loch

Plan a picnic on the shoreline of loch and you won’t be disappointed. Many are surrounded by majestic mountains and dense woodland, and it’s often quite easy to find a sheltered, peaceful spot. Make a day of it at one of the most famous, Loch Ness in the Highlands, and combine your picnic with a cruise on the loch or a visit to Urquhart Castle.


Boating on Loch Lomond
Loch Lomond

On an island in a loch

Picturesque Loch Lomond is home to a number of small islands. Visit with a picnic and it’ll feel like you’ve left civilisation behind. Catch a ferry from Balmaha to the largest, Inchcailloch, or, alternatively, rent a boat or take a tour and explore the dozens of others. These natural sanctuaries are home to wonderful plant life and incredible species of wildlife.


The Fairy Pools, Isle of Skye © elxeneize | Fotolia
The Fairy Pools, Isle of Skye © elxeneize | Fotolia

By a waterfall

The sound and sight of rushing water can be magical and mesmerising. On the Isle of Skye, walk to the enchanting Fairy Pools, a series of flowing pools on the River Brittle filled with crystalline azure waters. If you’re feeling brave, take your bathing suit and try some wild swimming pre picnic – but be warned, it can be chilly!


The coastline of Yesnaby with views towards the cliffs of Hoy, Orkney
Yesnaby, Orkney

On a clifftop

A clifftop picnic will excite all the senses; there’s the fresh sea breeze from the ocean on your skin, the sounds of cries from nesting seabirds, and, of course, the delicious packed lunch to delight your taste buds. St Abbs Head, a nature reserve in the Scottish Borders, and the cliffs of Hoy or Yesnaby in Orkney offer some particularly fine clifftop settings.


Eilean Donan Castle, near Skye © andre@cf | Fotolia Andrea Cerri Ferrari
Eilean Donan Castle, near Skye © andre@cf | Fotolia

Overlooking a castle

Add a historical backdrop to your picnic and opt to dine at a spot overlooking a castle, or perhaps even in the castle grounds. One of Scotland’s most dramatically located castles in Scotland is Eilean Donan, at Kyle of Lochalsh near the Isle of Skye. With its arch bridge and lochside position, it’s a wonderful sight to take in at any time.


West Sands, St Andrews, Fife
West Sands, St Andrews, Fife

On a beach

Beaches are pretty special places, and when you add a picnic for two into the mix, it all becomes incredibly romantic. In Scotland, there are hundreds of miles of beautiful white and golden sands along the coastline. Consider taking a picnic to West Sands in St Andrews in Fife, where you can take in the ocean views and the skyline of this historic university town, or voyage to the Outer Hebrides and experience some of the UK’s most beautiful beaches, including Luskentyre Sands on the Isle of Harris


The old pier at Portencross, North Ayrshire © John McSporran via Flickr
The old pier at Portencross, North Ayrshire. Photo by J McSporran via Flickr | Creative Commons

As the sun goes down

The sun sets in the west, and it’s not surprising that you’ll see some of the most spectacular sunsets from the county’s west coast. Expect a spectrum of colours; blazing oranges, rich golds, scarlet reds, and heady pinks, to describe but a few. The old pier at Portencross in North Ayrshire is a great spot to take in the sunset over Arran, or in Argyll, visit McCaig’s Tower in Oban and see gorgeous reflections in the sea as the low sun creates majestic silhouettes from the seascape of islands.

Discover more romantic break ideas in Scotland, learn about where you can source delicious produce from Scotland’s abundant natural larder, or get tips on how to plan a picnic to remember.

When out tucking into your picnic, be sure to take a couple of snaps and share them with us on our social media channels, using #brilliantmoments and #picnic. Bon appétit!


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